Talking to an admissions professionals can feel intimidating for a high school student. Other students feel at ease and talk to admissions officers just like they would anyone else. Many students are unsure how to communicate with admissions professionals and don’t try to talk to them at all.
The role of the admissions officer can vary depending on the college. The thing that many have in common is that they do have some say in who is admitted to an institution. Since many colleges make decisions holistically, anything can come into play when making decisions. Even at less selective colleges, small things could help a student in other ways besides admissions. For example, a pleasant experience with a prospective student could lead to an admissions officer recommending a student for a scholarships or a job on campus. In the same way, a negative experience could cost a student an opportunity. Therefore, it is important to interact with admissions officers professionally and with respect.
Here are some tips on how to communicate with admissions officers.
- Use a professional email address. While it may seem like a given, every year students contact admissions offices with offensive email address. A safe email address is one that uses the student’s name. Students should stay away from email addresses that refer to alcohol, drugs, violence, sex, and things of that nature.
- Don’t use “text type.” In today’s age, getting messages to others quickly is important and has led to a lot of abbreviations. While it may be okay to use ‘LOL’ or ‘TYIA’ with a friend, students should spell everything out when communicating with admissions officers. This is the professional way of communicating. In addition to not being professional, the meaning of the abbreviation set may be misunderstood by the receiver. To ensure the admissions officers understand what is being said, it is best to use clear and complete sentences and not abbreviate.
- Treat them with respect. Quite a few admissions officers are only a few years older than the prospective students they meet. This has led some prospective students and parents to treat them differently than someone who might be older. However, everyone deserves respect, even if they are just a few years older. In addition, it is important to be polite and nice to them.
- Be patient. Admissions officers do much more than just sit at their desk during the day. Many times admissions officers are traveling to high schools, attending college fairs, and planning events on campus. With hectic schedules, they may be not able to respond to emails or phone calls right away. Many times, admissions officers can only respond to emails and phone calls long after regular business hours. They should get back to prospective students, but it may take a little time.
Positive and negative interactions with prospective students stay with admissions officers. When admissions officers are on the fence about admitting a student, an interaction can be the thing that pushes them to one side or the other. In addition, positive and polite interactions can lead to other benefits, such as recommendations for great opportunities.
Lastly, communicating with admissions officers is great practice for the student’s future. Being able to professionally communicate with respect is something students will need to do as they enter the job market. As students are communicating with admissions officers, they should ask themselves, “Would I do the same with a prospective employer?” If the answer is no, students should follow the tips above when communicating with admissions officers.